« ForrigeFortsæt »
been called on to defend, among the other articles of the peace with America and her allies, the abandonment of the clause in the treaty of Utrecht, providing for the demolition of Dunkirk. North denounced the article, on the ground that though Dunkirk was no longer of real importance, the presence of our commissioners on the enemy's territory was to be desired, because it perpetuated the memory of former victories, exalted the dignity of Great Britain, and humbled the pride of France. Such has hitherto been the code of honour among nations. Among men true dignity is inoffensive, and he who is most careful of the honour of others is thought likely to be most careful of his
Shelburne, like Chatham and Stanhope--two ministers of spirit as well as sense- -before him, had proposed to give Gibraltar up to Spain for an equivalent. Three times round that barren rock had the watersNature's destined portal of peaceful commerce, and her destined highway of kindly intercourse among the nations of Christendom—been dyed with Christian blood and covered with floating agony. It does not command the entrance to the Mediterranean. It has made Spain our enemy in every war of the European Powers. When almost paralysed by decrepitude, she dragged her feeble limbs again and again to the attack, that she might remove this stain on her escutcheon, this eyesore of her honour. The recovery of it would be the greatest bribe that a military adventurer rising to power in Spain could offer to his countrymen: and perhaps the day may not be far distant when such a crisis may occur. But let us by no means exercise any foresight in the matter. Foresight is unworthy of a practical nation. A passage
in one of Pitt's letters seems to
indicate that he opposed Lord Shelburne on this occasion. But, if he did, it must be borne in mind that we had then no other station in the Mediterranean. Minorca had been lost: Malta was not yet ours. Pitt said some naval station in the Mediterranean is absolutely indispensable, but none can be found so desirable and secure as Malta.' If we cite great authorities, we must remember the circumstances under which they spoke. But again I am repeating what I have said more than once before.
In the midst of his useful course Pitt was almost thrown out of power by the illness of the King, which, if it had lasted longer, would have made the Prince of Wales Regent, and transferred the government to his friends; one of the many warnings to nations in search of a constitution not to embrace ours without considering all the liabilities of so peculiar and complex a machine. The Prince of Wales, partly from filial feeling, partly perhaps like D'Orleans Egalité, for the sake of another forbidden pleasure, Airted with Liberal principles, which, as a matter of course, lost for ever their place in what he was food of calling his heart, the instant that his foot touched the throne. The debates on the Regency Bill, under the guise of a great constitutional discussion, were a scuffle for power between two factions which had accidentally changed their positions with regard to royalty for the moment, and got hold each of the other's cant; so that if Pitt could say that he had un-Whigged Fox, Fox might have said that he had un
n-Toried Pitt. These scenes revealed on the critical eve of the French Revolution the scandals of Royalty-a King, in whom the ray of reason barely flickered, swaying the destinies of a nation—the Princes
mocking at the affliction of their father—the Queen receiving with complacency the duellist who had nearly killed her detested child. Not long before had occurred the episode of the Prince of Wales and Mrs. Fitzherbert, in which the Prince broke every law of honour, and put up his bosom friends to tell a lie for him in the House of Commons. But there are extenuating circumstances in this case. First, the Prince, like all princes, had been sacrificed to the public good: he had never known equal friendship, heard the voice of truth, or learnt self-control and honour in the school of other men. Secondly, his love for Mrs. Fitzherbert was undoubtedly deep and sincere; a lawful marriage with her might have been the means of reclaiming him. Thirdly, he had not made the laws which, in the case of royal marriages, sacrificed affection to policy; and, heir to a kingdom as he was, he might have envied the meanest servant in his train whose hand and heart were free. He was afterwards married to a woman whom he had never seen, and the sight of whom caused him at once to call for brandy, while further researches have revealed that he drowned the horrors of his wedding in an enormous potation of liqueur. Her mother [-in-law] had been brought down from her nursery one afternoon to dine at table with the family, and introduced to a stranger, who after dinner led her into the next room, and went through the form of marriage with her as the deputy of the King of England. When she was brought to St. James's, never having seen her destined husband, she was going to fall down at the feet of the wrong man.
The people showed their sympathy and their loyalty when the King recovered. They passed from mouth to mouth, and engraved on their rings and snuff-boxes, the words of the honest Lord Chancellor Thurlow: When I forget my King may my God forget me.' They had not heard Burke's exclamation, The best thing he can do for you, or the more pungent but highly improper comment of the graceless Wilkes; nor had they seen Pitt run out of the House crying, “Oh what a rascal.
' In the course of the great struggle between the King's party and that of the Prince, when the King's friends were holding a Cabinet at Windsor, as they rose to go, the honest Lord Chancellor's hat was missing. It was brought to him from the Prince's room.
And now the sun of Pitt's glory has reached its zenith. It declines towards the West and night.
Died March 16, 1861.
[Biographical Sketches, by Miss H. Martineau.]
THIS Princess, the object of the hearty respect of the British nation as a high source of the virtues of their Sovereign, has been so exclusively regarded as the mother of the Queen as to have been little known outside of that relation. For many years she has been observed only as moving with the court—to Frogmore when the Queen was at Windsor, and to Abergeldie during the autumn holiday of the royal family at Balmoral. Yet hers was a long life of strong interests, anxieties, and responsibilities; and if we could know her experiences, we might find more romance lying between childhood and old age than is often found in the life of princes.
The Princess Maria Louisa Victoria was born on the same day that Frederick the Great died, August 17, 1786. Daughter and sister of Dukes of Saxe-CoburgSaalfeld, she was brought up in the dulness of a little German court
-as little German courts were in those days, when the invasion of French ideas, issuing from the court of Frederick, was only beginning to influence the German mind, and to create a new literary period.
[Reprinted with the kind consent of the Author.]